Most companies' vision and mission statements are useless. Where as a good vision statement can inspire loyalty, hard work and innovation, most of the framed statements hanging on the walls of businesses are nothing more than a description of what the company does.

The kind of "vision" statement to which I am referring usually look something like this: be the leading supplier of [insert product or service] at the best possible price with the best possible service...blah blah blah value...blah blah blah customer satisfaction & innovation....blah blah blah leader in our industry.

I always ask companies with statements like the above what they think the vision statements on their competitors' walls say. Eerily similar I imagine.

A good mission or vision statement is just that, a statement of a vision - a look ahead into the future. A vision statement is an articulation of a view of the world that your company and your people are working towards, not what they are expected to do now.

But the vision alone is not enough. Given your vision of the future, how, specifically, will your company work to achieve it? These guidelines or values should be written in a manner by which people, at all levels, can be held accountable. "Innovation," "authenticity" and "integrity" are not measurable (and frankly things like integrity should be a given...anyone in your company lacking this quality shouldn't be given a mission statement, they should be given a pink slip).

Here are some guidelines to writing a vision or mission statement that works.

Why do you do what you do?

How do you do it?

What do you do?

Put your business goals on another piece if paper.

Only if you're interested, here's my vision statement:

I work to inspire people to do the things that inspire them.